What do we want Nanny to do in our Nanny state?


              This week I wish to examine just how much we want the government to interfere in our lives in the pursuit of good.

Let us begin with the vexed question of tobacco.

             I am a non smoker. I accept the medical advice that smoking can be damaging to your health. I decided not to smoke as a teenager, when I discovered that my lungs rejected smoke when I tried a cigarette. I always disliked the smell of tobacco smoke, and the taste smoking left in my mouth.

           I am also a freedom lover. If tobacco remains a legal substance I have no wish to stop others smoking in ways which do not annoy others.

            The law has moved on, and now favours the majority who do not smoke and controls the places where smokers can smoke. Today the issue is should the law be moved further?

          Australia says the law should dictate the packets used for the cigarettes. After all, tv advertising has been banned, sponsored smoking in films and at sports events has been terminated and other actions taken to make it difficult to promote the sales of cigarettes.

                 As always, government has a conflicted of  interest in this topic. As health custodian it wants to cut cigarette consumption. As tax collector, it finds the duties on tobacco very useful.

                 Should government leave things as they are? Should it ban more advertising/promotion like the packet designs? Should it make smoking illegal?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Henry Rogers
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Tobacco should continue to be taxed but not be banned.

    Plain packaging for cigarettes should not be introduced until we have some hard evidence from the countries which are about to enforce it. If it is shown to reduce smoking by a worthwhile amount then by all means introduce it.

  2. Alex
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “Today the issue is should the law be moved further?” Why, John? Why is the issue never “Are we bullying smokers too much. Are we spending too much on nanny-state propaganda? Have bans on where people can smoke gone too far? Are we taxing smokers too much , and hence supporting organised crime through the profits of smuggling? Are the lies and exaggerations of taxpayer-funded anti-smoking lobbyists damaging honest debate? What is the end point of the never-ending ratcheting up of anti-smoking measures?”
    I am not, and have never been, a smoker. But I believe that adults have the right to indulge in the activities of their choice, not just those the state approves of.
    And no, making smoking illegal would be idiotic. See Prohibition for a guide.
    If you make a popular activity illegal you don’t stop the activity. You simply hand over the industry to organised crime. You hand organised crime a £15 billion turnover industry. You lose all quality control on the contents of cigarettes. You discourage people from seeking medical help for smoking related diseases (or health problems from cigarette adulteration).
    Some people like to do things that the state doesn’t like them doing. Politicians (supposedly public servants, not public masters, remember) should learn to accept that.
    Oh, and if cigarettes are made illegal “for our own good” what next? Alcohol? Sugar? Pork chops? Where does it end?

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Maybe drugs?

  3. Chris Rose
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    As a child I disliked cigarette smoke and I remember how pleased I was when my mother gave up smoking. Consequently I have not smoked. It pains me to see people I love smoking.

    And yet, I find it outrageous that now people who want to smoke are forced to stand outside in the cold and the rain to do so; that is barbaric. I see no reason why, if proper provision is made, people should not be allowed to smoke indoors in public places.

    The dangers of smoking are well-known. How can the tobacco industry be held responsible for people’s personal decision to smoke when smokers know the consequences of their actions?

    I know many people who have given up smoking; they don’t seem to have found it too hard to do so. I also know people who have said for years that want to give up, but have failed. Frankly, they don’t want to, so why should we make them?

    People who want to dedicate themselves to discouraging smoking should become doctors not MPs.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Chris ,

      Proper provision was hardly ever made to prevent smoke diffusing from smoking areas to non . It is very difficult to do .

      Even now many smokers stand in doorways so the smoke enters the building . If I remember correctly the US has federal laws stating how far people need to be from a doorway .

      What baffles me is that smokers find it so hard to believe how unpleasant even tolerant people can find the tobacco smoke – even those who are too polite to say anything .

      I think it should not attract so much tax and would not wish to ban it though and find the regulations on advertising right down to having to fuzz out a John Player gold motif on footage of a 1970’s racing car pathetic .

    • uanime5
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      The problem with smoking indoors is that passive smoking harms all the people around them (especially the staff who are exposed for longer periods of time than the customers). At present there isn’t an effective method to prevent this, so the best solution is not allowing smoking indoors.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        @U5: Simple, no one needs to be in such a place, no one is being forced to work in such places, all it needs is a simple declaration and a notice on the door(s), you don’t walk into a church and then complain that religion is being practised. Or perhaps you do U5!

        As it is I am now being subjected to more unacceptable (not being of my choice) second-hand smoke since the smoking ban than I have in about the last 25 years, simply because within the precinct of every doorway there seems to be the huddle of ‘evicted’ smokers, sometimes I’ve seen the entire workforce of a company standing outside of a workshop were others are banned for H&S reasons – crazy…

        • Bazman
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Jerry’s and the standard right wing answer to the problem of workplace safety. No one if forced to do this work. Then links it to something with no health risk. Maybe they could become surgeons or take to the stage to provide money for their families and stop bothering employers by companioning as many others are happy to chance their arms in this line of work?
          Actually the law does allow for this smoke in doorways. It is not being applied though. They are addict Jerry can you understand this? Not like coffee or chocolate ‘addicts’ but true drug addicts. Who need to be inconvenienced and helped in this addiction. Not encouraged.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            You need to take a look at this interesting and educational film on dangers contained Victorian household. Interesting question at the end of what is in the modern home today we do not know about. Don’t give me that nanny state nonsense in defence of do nothing fatalism.

        • uanime5
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          People who works in pubs and companies often need the money they earn, so they do need to be in this place.

          While smokers are free to give themselves cancer they have no right to give it to their co-workers.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            @U5: Many such people are now out of work because of the smoking ban, put out of work because the pub closed, now even those who didn’t mind working in such a environment don’t have jobs either…

          • Bazman
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink

            Many would chance their arm in any environment. Does this make it right?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: People have been injured or have died due to using computers and/or the internet, should risk adverse people like you be prevented from using them too. You (I believe) ride a motorbike, many more people have likely died due to the direct use of a motorbike that smoking, should people like you be prevented from using a motorbike? Ones whole life is a balance of risk vs. benefits, all the nanny state has done is bread people who need to be told it is hot during a heatwave and a hansom trade in injury compensation lawyers…

      • libertarian
        Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        There is absolutely no such thing as, and NO scientific study at all showing that so called passive smoking exists.

        As a non smoker though I agree that the smell is appalling and it permeates ones clothes etc.

        So the obvious answer was the smoking room & the smokers only pub etc.

        Also obviously workers in smoking pubs would be smokers who choose to work in those places

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          Passive smoking certainly exists but it seems to be a fairly low risk. Certainly less than the risk of catching cold and flu but we do not ban people with these getting on buses, planes and trains and sneezing on us. I can remember the old tubes with one smoking carriage, which was very unpleasant. If you got in one by mistake you had to hold your breath and dash out at the next station to change carriage.
          Then wash all your clothes when you got home.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            They should have charged you for the smoke.

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          I refer you to NHS . Is passive smoking harmful?

      • thefilthyengineer
        Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Name one person who has died of passive smoking? An actual name is required.

        And why were pubs for instance not allowed to be smoking or non smoking? That would have satisfied the majority.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          @thefilthyengineer: I think you will find that musician Roy Castle died of a (usually) smoking related cancer, even though he had never smoked one tobacco product in his life, although he had play many a ‘smoked filled’ revenue. On the flip side, of course any number of other irritants could have been to blame, or none – such is the mystery of cancerous cell…

          • Bazman
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            That will also apply to industrial diseases too huh Jerry? Any precautions are just pointless costs to the employer and a hindrance to the employee. Tell that to the million of shipyard and building site workers. You no doubt have had the danger of stabbing your finger whilst sharpening a pencil.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: I think you are mistaking me for someone else, I have never said that we don’t need H&S, just that it should simply educate, but ultimately it is up to the employee and not the employer.

            As I said the other day, people should be educated enough to know when it is hot, not simply wait for someone else to tell them it is hot, the same applies with workplace hazards. COSHH was step in the right direction but still places far to responsibility on the employers…

          • libertarian
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink


            There is NIL evidence that (named person) cancer was caused by fag smoke. Millions of non smokers die of cancer and millions of heavy smokers don’t . Truth is as you say we just dont know


            Your attack on Jerry is illogical ( not for the first time). Yes industrial deceases and health and safety issues exist in the work place. In those circumstances we try to put in place measures to reduce, eliminate and minimise the risk.

            Following your logic we should just ban building sites !!

          • Bazman
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            Ultimately up to the employees is right? Make no mistake, but many have no options to tell employers to ram it. They would just be replaced by ones more desperate and foolish. If you can come up with a retort to this I would be interested to know what it was?

          • dave copeland
            Posted July 22, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            erm…Roy Castle actually smoked cigars, which came as a big embarrassment to the RC Foundation when leaked to the press.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: Ever heard the expression that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make the horse drink, how ever diligent an employer is, how ever risk averse, how ever many safety guards or cages are put in place if a silly person wants to get tangled in the works (or what ever) they will do so – is it really right that the employer gets the blame regardless, the HSE basically saying that the employer should have done even more?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            @dave copeland: Not heard that before, it must have come as an even bigger embarrassment to ASH…

        • Bazman
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          The employer should have sacked the person for his own and the companies good after a number of warnings as fools need looking after. One guy I work with wears suede shoes instead of steel toecap boots should he be allowed? He even grinds without safety specs and gets particles in his eyes. Nitwit.

      • Jane Best
        Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Have you found the proof for this statement. If you have found proof I suggest that you inform the World Health Organisation, as they HAVE NOT.

      • outsider
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        Dear uanime5,
        I wonder if you have checked the basis for claims that “passive smoking” causes lung cancer. If not, I suggest you do. The seminal study ( usually called the Swiss Study) suggested an increase in cancers that just passed the level of statistical significance and that increase was on an extremely low base risk for non-smokers.

        There are a very small number of extreme cases where passive smoking is the most likely cause of lung cancer, notably the jazz trumpeter mentioned in the thread below, but if you have seen how a jazz trumpeter breathes you will realise how untypical that is.

        That is not to say that bans on cigarette smoking in enclosed public spaces cannot be justified on other grounds, including annoyance .

        But the misuse of what is claimed to be a scientific basis in this case has played a key role in discrediting the value or veracity of any claimed scientific basis for policymaking. That includes the scientific “consensus” that people are generating cumulative global warming, but equally the claims that, say, GM foods or fracking are perfectly safe.

        I now assume, as a default, that any science claimed as a basis for lobbying-led policy is bogus and I guess I am not alone.

  4. Jerry
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I accept the medical advice that smoking can be damaging to your health.

    Well even water can damage ones health, such it be highly regulated, travelling in the No.2 bus can be damaging to your health (never mind that No.7 bus), people have even injured themselves watching TV never mind people who become unfit couch-potatoes.

    The state should inform us of the risks, it should not try to unduly restrict availability, alter price, control were an activity can be done or restrict the marketing of the product unless they wish to do at least the first of the following two things: 1/. The government should not use the product or activity as a cash-cow, and 2/. should make the product or activity illegal.

    Thus to use the tobacco example, Labour when in government seem to have been rather two faced in their policies towards the product, they are more than willing to raise considerable tax revenues from it but then wish to tell those who are funding that tax take how and were they can consume it. The same sort of thing is also happening with motorists, ever greater taxes whilst the state (either at national or local level) place ever more restrictions and/or charges on the motorist, whilst using them as a cash-cow.

    As I non-smoker might I just add, whilst I have no objection to the sight of tobacco packets, whilst I can choose if to enter a pub where smokers are puffing away, whilst I can even chose were I work, why does the state force me to look at “horror pictures” on the packs just so that they can carry on funding their governmental lifestyle via the taxes raised – I object more to being forced by the state to see such images that being forced to inhale others smoke, at least I can escape the smoke!

    So to answer your question, the state should indeed inform, but then allow people to make their choice, we should not be nannied – all a nanny state does is create a nation of unthinking androids, meaning we have the absurd stupidity that people have had to be told officially that the air temperature is very hot at the moment and the sun very strong – as Noel Coward once wrote – Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun…

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      This is clearly wrote by a non smoker defending smoking a subject he knows nothing about. Why should you have to’ escape the smoke’ and think it is OK that you have to? Give it a go for about 20 years jerry and get back to use jerry with your findings…

      • Jerry
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        @Bazmn: Clearly written by a reformed smoker who is now attempting to appear whiter-than-white after a life time of inflicting his own smoke onto others – ho-hum…

        Oh and nice to know that you7 still think that a expert in child abuse needs to be a child abuser, for how else can one know… Duh 🙁

        Could it be that one just has to live and work with smokers (or for that mater the victims and perpetrators of child abuse) to understand the issues?

        • Bazman
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

          Nothing to do with being a reformed smoker. I had the same views when I smoked.You are an apologist for smokers with no experience of smoking, because if you had smoked or were a smoker you would not be defending them. It’s like telling everyone about sex when you are a virgin if you want that Analogy.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: As I said, a reformed smoker the worse of the worse to tell others how to live their lives! You don’t want to smoke, l nor do I, but unlike you I accept that other do and that (unless smoking tobacco is made illegal) they should have every right to practise such a legal activity.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink


        Certain religions ban things such as pork. So with your logic cafes which cook bacon sandwiches should be banned? Rather than as sensibly done now and just avoided.

        Most people have accepted the ban of smoking in public places, tube, rail, aircraft, office etc.

        The suggestion is simply that those that choose to smoke should have a designated place that they can do so.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          They ‘choose’ to smoke? Really. They have a choice?

          • Jerry
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: Of course they did and do, you as a reformed smokers should know that, were you forced to take up smoking, was that first fag put in your mouth and held there by force, is that what you are claiming?!

          • Bazman
            Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Who is going to hold 13 -15 year olds which is the normal age to start smoking as a choice Jerry. It has nothing to do with stopping freedom, but reconisng smoking as an addiction and not a lifestyle choice. Of course you could not just buy them, but this shows your lack of appreciation of the strength of the addiction. A man of steel like yourself could just stop huh Jerry even after 30 years of smoking boy to man? As if.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 24, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: “smoking [is] an addiction and not a lifestyle choice

            Then make the activity illegal…

            Oh and as for your last comment, given the will/wish to, yes! I knew a very heavy smoker who gave up at the age of 88, this after smoking unfiltered roll-ups since the age of about 13. He quite literally stubbed out his last fag and said that was his last, going on to tell his son not to bother bring him any more tobacco – he was by them, all but blind, living in a nursing home (that were quite happy for him to carry on smoking in his own room).

          • Bazman
            Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Ho! Ho! The 80 year old smoker. Not many about though and no 100 year old smokers. No there ain’t. It’s like infant mortality. You don’t see the ones who did not make it and after 70 years of smoking he probably got fed up with it. There is some element of truth in this flippant comment. The addiction can often in cases, myself included, stop the addiction. Still very difficult to stop. Why do you think smoking is difficult to stop and why are smokers reluctant to do so Jerry? It’s not withdrawal symptoms I can tell you.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            @Bazman: Stop being so bloody minded (all but calling others liars to boot), as a reformed smoke, after years of inflicting your own smoke on others, you have no moral right to even have an opinion never mind start preaching, unlike those who have NEVER smoked…

            As for your (apparent) rational, lets face it many things can be bad for you, best you stop riding your motorbike, in fact best not get out of bed in the morning, unless you live in a bungalow, and even then you might trip over the door sill on your way out. In fact will there be no limit to this wonderful new risk adverse society of yours, lets also ban the act of sexual reproduction (our future population can be created by selective and screened IVF), after all people have passed on and/or died of STD’s etc, people have even had heart attacks dung the act, thus we can’t allow the plebs a choice, they simple don’t have the mental ability to balance the risks and benefits for themselves – the test tube it is from now on!

            No one is suggesting that smokers should be allowed onto the antenatal ward, into kindergartens or schools and the such, just that ADULTS should be allowed to make decisions for themselves, as a non smoking adult I can decide if you mix with, enter or work within a tobacco-smoke laden environment.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Oops, and before anyone decided to pick up on the typo, I meant to write; …as a non smoking adult I can decide if I mix with, enter or work within a tobacco-smoke laden environment.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

            Smoking is the only product that when used as intended causes health problems and death. The risk cannot be avoided. Other products such as motorbike crashes are accidents. Smoking is not an accident or a calculated risk as you would have us believe. As for comparing smoking risks to sex risks. You are trying to tell us that smoking is a rational and natural act. It is not and only you are talking about prohibition by law. I’m talking about making it socially unacceptable which it is.
            You defend smokers rights to smoke in some sort of ‘freedom’ cause. They could not care less about your freedom not to put up with their smoke. I speak from experience.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: Smoking is the only product that when used as intended causes health problems and death”

            You mean that ALL smokers WILL die – me thinks you missed out the word “can”, Smoking is the only product that when used as intended can cause health problems and death.

            So once again you are wrong and even if you are totally correct (which you are not [1]) then the government should simply make its use illegal…

            [1] people have died due to allergic reactions to all sorts of chemicals, people can die simply because they eat a nut, should nuts be restricted, hidden, sold in plain packets, should certain painkillers, should alcohol, oh and both cars and motorbikes are products that when used as intended can cause health problems and death, should their advertising and sale be hidden behind blacked out showroom windows – all can kill far quicker than tobacco.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 29, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            You miss the point in your apologist fantasy. Smoking is a killer and you cannot compare allergic reactions and traffic accidents to this type of danger as you well know. If a product contains high levels of poisons and carcinogenic toxins then it is restricted and in many cases banned. Your ridiculous comparisons will not wash in the real world. There is no safe level of smoking as you would have us believe and the detrimental effects affect all who use this product unlike the ones you mention who which in many cases the benefits outweigh the dangers by far. Could you tell us of some of the benefits of smoking and why you do not smoke? Get real and stop being childish and silly.

  5. Old Albion
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I’m a former smoker. When i see others smoking now i think how stupid the whole process is.
    As you say, tobacco is legal. Therefore i don’t think a ban on it is reasonable and clearly Governments want the tax it produces.
    So how to deal with it;
    Educate the young in school, with hard-hitting bluntness as to the ill-effects of smoking.
    Continue to use the taxation system to deter smoking. Starting at £10 for twenty cigarettes with a declared policy of an annual increase of £2. This will, i’m sure cause a drop in tobacco sales. But at the same time will help maintain tax revenues.
    Tobacco smuggling will need to be dealt with rather more rigorously.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    This is of course refers to Ed Milibands comment regards the Benson and Hedgefund. I deplore smoking. The extra money we have to spend in the NHS due to smokers is phenomenal . My parents stopped smoking when in the 50’s it wasn’t chique anymore and lung cancer took over. Today we find that not only the smoke and other toxins in cigarettes such as cyanide cause damage , but the nicotine itself causes irreparable vessel damage and of course blood vessels supply every organ and tissue in the body, therefore the NHS is paying for multi organ damage due to nicotine.
    There is freedom and there are taxes and there are those young rebels who know it is foolish , but want to display their rebelliousness, by driving along in their cars, windows down and flick ash out of the window , especially when someone like myself passes. We know why they do it, we have all been young. Some of these youngsters do not pass this stage and continue the same mind set into their thirties where it gets a hold of them, then of course it is one of their only pleasures in life. It is not the drug in the system demanding that the levels be replenished , but the pleasure. They cannot see it as lack of self control and loss of freedom , but that drug nicotine, has a firm hold on them and demands to have its way.
    There should be stricter controls over smoking. It is sad to see a 14 year old with his mates showing off because he is smoking on the way home from school.
    There are many experiments teenagers and those in their twenties have to go through to find out for themselves what it is all about, but Nanny, even if she can’t enforce the rules has to teach them the problem of self harm. Do you remember ‘The Who’ singing about My Generation and hoping to die fore I get old. The older one becomes the realisation dawns that youth spins eternal until no more.

    • Frank J
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      “The extra money we have to spend in the NHS due to smokers is phenomenal .”

      Not this canard, again. According to HMRC, in 2010/11, tobacco netted £11.1 billion to the exchequer, £9 billion excise and @£2.1 billion VAT. According to NHS figures, ‘tobacco related diseases’ (whatever they are and proof, please, not opinion) cost @£2.7 billion. In my simple maths, that leaves a balance of £8.4 billion. Of course, the Govt. will dispose of that money as it wishes.

    • dave copeland
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      “The extra money we have to spend in the NHS due to smokers is phenomenal .”

      Actually Margaret, smokers more than pay their way, and pay for YOUR healthcare too.
      In 2008 the Dutch government looked into the cost of treating people from the age of 20 to death. They had three categories, the healthy, obese and smokers. The results were not what the health gurus were looking for.

      The lifetime costs were in Euros:

      Healthy: 281,000

      Obese: 250,000

      Smokers: 220,000

      It really is quite dishonest of the anti smokers to say that smoking is a burden on society.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted July 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        In 2008 information was not collated as to the extent that the wide variety of diseases caused by nicotine and toxins like butane , acetone , cyanide cause, although I was in HDU treating many on respirators and costing many thousands on specialist equipment in hospitals to keep them alive. This is false money speak.

        • Gregster
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Margaret, that’s nonsense and you know it. The chemicals in cigarette smoke have been known for nearly 20 years and been measured down to the minutest of volumes. Argue againt smoking by all means, but don’t just make thing up as you go along.

          Besides, apart from the costs as mentioned above, smokers also pay around £11bn in taxes which far exceeds the £2.7bn cost to the NHS. You’ve been conned, stop believing everything you hear from anti-smoking busybodies.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Kills half the people who smoke. Not good odds and the ones it does not kill reduces their quality of life lost days of work and many other costs associate with tobacco that you do not include in your nonsense. No doubt wrote by non smokers.

    • dave copeland
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Again Margaret, more anti-smoking rhetoric.

      “…other toxins in cigarettes such as cyanide cause damage , but the nicotine itself causes irreparable vessel damage and of course blood vessels supply every organ and tissue in the body, therefore the NHS is paying for multi organ damage due to nicotine.”

      Can you supply any evidence for these statements?…of course not.

      The fact that most anti-smokers conveniently overlook, is that toxins found in tobacco smoke are also found in everyday foods.
      There’s a well known maxim in toxicology. THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON.
      The following foods naturally contain cyanide: Almonds, sprouts, beans, soy, spinach, bamboo shoots, etc.
      Additionally cyanide is found in most any fruits that have a pit, or core, like cherries, apricots and apples. Small amounts of cyanide may even be good for you by helping to lower blood pressure…fancy that!

      As for nicotine…well…have you ever taken the B vitamin known as B3…or (niacin)? Niacin is Nicotinic Acid or… nicotine! The benefit of nicotinic acid is essential for the normal function of the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Without nicotinic acid, our food isn’t processed properly and we don’t get the vitamins we need. Worst case scenario equals death at an early age. And everyone knows that taking B vitamins makes you feel good. Ever wonder why smokers like to smoke? This may be your first clue.
      Of all the disinformation out there, probably the most skilfully done is the origins of niacin. Niacin is of major benefit to the body and needed for all kinds of systems to function properly. But, they don’t want to associate it with smoking and so they changed the name from nicotinic acid to niacin. The easiest and most efficient way of oxidizing nicotinic acid is to burn it, hence, smoking is a great way to get your vitamin B3. Knowing the benefits of this “vitamin” it is easy to see why smokers enjoy smoking so much and why anti-tobacco is so intent on you not knowing its origins.
      I hope you are starting to see the lies here or, more accurately, disinformation. If it is ok to take a vitamin, but not ok to smoke because of nicotine, yet vitamin niacin is nicotine, what then are we to believe from the experts?

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted July 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        The evidence is the end result and I see that every day . I have commented before that research is often out of context , having been in charge of a drug trials unit , but that is not to ignore empirical evidence . It is convenient to ignore evidence as a whole for the sake of revenue . It is just as convenient to ignore key research strategies. There are roads out there , they exist , but cross them at the wrong time or in the wrong place and it can be fatal. See the analogy.

        • david copeland
          Posted July 24, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          “The evidence is the end result and I see that every day “.

          You may see the ‘end result’ Margaret, but proof of the cause is sadly lacking. It’s a cop-out for you and your ilk to blame smoking for every disease known to man.
          After years of trying, and billions of dollars spent, they STILL haven’t been able to prove that smoking causes ANYTHING!

          • Bazman
            Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            Do you smoke Dave? If you do you must feel the effects and telling us smoking has no toll is a fantasy is it not?

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        We know all this , what are you trying to prove? There are trace elements of everything in the universe which exist . In fact holistic medicine is formed on this principle of minute dilutions . We would not be able to use them if they did not exist . Do you see how you are being conned into accepting that if things exist they do no harm in the wrong place?

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Mistake ,I meant homeopathy

  7. Iain Gill
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Yep smoking should be banned, although care would be needed about the unintended consequences. Or do it in phases just ban sales to anyone born after 1996 and keep that rule in place so that the banned age continues to go up etc, and eventually a complete ban will be in place.

    Lots of other dangerous stuff should be fixed quickly, and with minimal public disagreement, for instance I dont see why Pit Bull like dogs could not be banned completely. Just ban them all. I dont know anyone who thinks these (dogs3:)should be walking around parks with our children etc I think you would be surprised the public support for such a measure.

  8. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Smoking, of course, should not be made illegal.

    But, if it had never been invented, and someone, now, suddenly decided to manufacture and sell cigarettes – I think it is fairly safe to assume they would be banned.

    I think the manufacture and sale of cigarettes should be banned. If people want to grow and dry their own tobacco leaves – burn them and inhale the smoke into their lungs – that is their own affair. But making money out of it should be banned.

    It’s funny how times have changed. Whenever I see someone smoking these days, I look at them and find myself silently muttering ‘idiot’.

    • thefilthyengineer
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      “But making money out of it should be banned.”

      And who makes the most money?

      The government is the answer. £11.5 billion per year. And rising.

  9. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The wisest words on this subject came from Sir Humphrey Appleby. As he correctly pointed out, smokers are an absolute boon: they contribute to the Exchequer while they’re young and smoking. Then they die early, so they’re less of a burden on the Exchequer in retirement than non-smokers.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Though in between being young and dying they do tend to require expensive medical treatment.

      • Frank J
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Check your figures, you’re way out.

  10. English Pensioner
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’m a non-smoker, and provided a smoker doesn’t smoke too close to me, I have no objections to anyone smoking. People get enjoyment out of all sorts of things and many of these are just as dangerous as smoking, yet (so far) no one suggests, for example, that mountaineering should be banned. My personal worry is that if smoking is finally eradicated, the zealots will move onto my pint of beer or tot of whiskey and alcohol will be subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes.
    I don’t believe in the argument that smokers cost the NHS a fortune, most of us oldies seem to end up in hospital for a period before we die, if smoking shortens one’s life, just think of all the money that the government is saving, not only in pension payments, but in all the regular checks at the doctors and the cost of the variety of pills that we are prescribed.
    A further thought. It has been suggested to me that drug taking could be on the increase since smoking was banned in pubs as some youngsters who might once have smoked now seem to exhibit behaviour with is not commensurate with the alcohol consumed. Be very wary of the Law of Unexpected Consequences!

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I beg to differ , the amount of money follows the whole process in general practice of heart diseases and lung diseases and general circulatory diseases. The obvious one is COPD ; the disease gathers momentum from mild to moderate to severe and can span over 20 years. A simple inhaler can cost for one month £50.00 / month and this is one , many are on a few , and regularly have exacerbations which require expensive treatments and hospital admissions. Many become respiratory cripples eventually needing full time support . This is one tiny aspect of all the money spent on smoking related diseases.
      We in the NHS see the need to treat as all have a right , yet why the suffering in the first place?

  11. StrongholdBarricades
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Do the EU still pay a subsidy for tobacco growers?

    • libertarian
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes they do, and its huge

  12. Sue
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I think the Nanny State should keep its nose out of ALL my business. As far as the smoking fiasco is concerned, I find it hypocritical that the government makes a vast amount of money from the “pleasures” they disapprove of. I also find it totally insulting that they use my money to lecture me. The smoking ban should be voluntary (an either/or situation), but you know darn well if pubs were given the option, the non-smoking ones would go out of business. Ironic that prisoners still have the freedom to smoke where they want and we “free” people are constantly being threatened with a ban on smoking in cars and our own homes. Don’t forget the smoking ban has had a devastating effect on the elderly. Most of them who frequented their local pubs/clubs and bingo halls are now forced to either stay at home or stand out in all weathers just to satisfy the righteous. Just don’t ever insult us and call this a democracy, I don’t remember being asked whether I want anything banned or not!

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      There is no ‘freedom to smoke’. They are addicts and have no choice.

      • Ludwig
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, while I appreciate the difficulties for an addict to stop feeding their addiction there is a lot of help and support provided by the taxpayer (via the NHS) to help smokers’ quit. The first step with any addiction is deciding you want to stop and seeking help and support to do so. Many smokers I know actively choose to continue smoking because they enjoy it. I do not believe their habit should be made illegal but it is right that they do not inflict their smoke upon others. It is also right that the State should continue to educate and inform the public (especially the young) about the dangers of smoking. It is NOt the right of the State to prevent people from taking risks.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          They do not enjoy it and addicts do not appreciate the risks. They are addicts. Ram it too.

  13. Neil Craig
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    My opinion is that the increase in regulation of our lives is not because people are getting more censorious, other evidence shows the opposite is happening, but because each of these regulations require the hiring of some more people to enforce it.

    “The purpose of government programmes is to pay government employees and their friend , the nominal purpose is, at best, secondary” Pournelle

    It helps that naturally government funded “charities” and the BBC state propaganda broadcaster always advertise for/”raise awareness of” more nannying and that the latter censors anybody in favour of freedom.

  14. Peter Davies
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’m no fan of smoking like you and when I was young I tried it and didn’t enjoy it so chose not to take it up.

    I’m in 2 minds on this one. On one hand I don’t like govt nanny states telling people what to do – we have seen far to much of this in recent times and on the other I would like to see consumption go down. After all it is the taxpayer who picks up the bills via the NHS later on when all the health issues kick in.

    If it was me making this decision I would want to lean towards studying results from other countries first over a period of time to try to come up with some hard evidence to prove whether it would make a difference or not.

    I suspect that once you are hooked on smoking that branding or no branding will make little if any difference – even when teenagers take up smoking they do it due to peer pressure rather than branding or some ad they may have seen.

    This was the approach by the Labour Party when in govt (see guido’s blog) despite their noises now in opposition.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


      I think you’ll find that the tax raised from smokers far outweighs the cost of medical treatment for smoking related illness

      • Bazman
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Absolutely not true and if it did is the government to raise money from ill health?

        • libertarian
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Yes it is true Bazman look the figures up

        • libertarian
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink


          I just looked the numbers up. From a recent FOI request to the department of Health they said that smoking related health issues costs the NHS £ 1.7 billion per annum

          From HMRC website

          Duty on tobacco & tobacco products per annum £9.5 billion

          Plus VAT on tobacco and tobacco related products £ 2.6 billion

          A total of £ 12.1 billion raised resulting in £10.4 billion “profit” for the Treasury

          • Bazman
            Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            Profits from smoking is OK? Lost days and many other costs that you or the state does not understand are related to smoking. Have you ever smoked? Guess what? Ram it.

    • Jane Best
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      The £billions that smokers pay in duty more than pays for any ‘smoker related’ illness.
      If everyone stopped smoking the taxpayer would have to pay a hell of a lot more tax to cover the loss in tobacco revenue.
      Apart from the fact that the smokers are actually taxpayers themselves as well as the tax they pay on tobacco.
      Would non-smokers be prepared to pay more tax for a ‘smoke free’ Utopia ?

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Just how many cigarettes do smokers need to smoke to pay for a lung transplant?

        Face it the medical care of smokers far outweighs the amount of money raised from selling cigarettes.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


          Face it the medical care of smokers far outweighs the amount of money raised from selling cigarettes.

          No Wrong, look at my numbers in reply to your mate Bazman. Tobacco tax makes a “profit” for Treasury of £10 billion over the costs….

        • gordon
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          UE5 you are wrong!

          I just looked the numbers up. From a recent FOI request to the department of Health they said that smoking related health issues costs the NHS £ 1.7 billion per annum

          From HMRC website

          Duty on tobacco & tobacco products per annum £9.5 billion

          Plus VAT on tobacco and tobacco related products £ 2.6 billion

          A total of £ 12.1 billion raised resulting in £10.4 billion “profit” for the Treasury

    • Dick Puddlecote
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      “After all it is the taxpayer who picks up the bills via the NHS later on when all the health issues kick in”

      True. But the cost to the NHS is £2.7bn, while sin taxes on tobacco is £11bn plus VAT.

      Let’s cut a deal. You can moan about the cost to the NHS only if taxes on tobacco are abolished.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        You’re ignoring the cost to the economy based on the loss of productivity due to smoking. If someone cannot work due to an illness caused by smoking then the taxpayer has to pay to look after them (unemployment benefits, housing benefit, etc).

        • libertarian
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Ok so are you going to be fair Uanime5 and include the cost to the economy of all the jobs lost in tobacco industry, all the corner shops, newsagents and tobacconists that go bust as a result of banning tobacco.

          Also there would be severely reduced demand in the match, lighter and paper industries.

        • outsider
          Posted July 22, 2013 at 12:49 am | Permalink

          On the other hand, if you check the San Francisco study (the one that proved conclusively how nicotine is physically addictive) you will see that it found that nicotine improved concentration and brain performance of students given problems under laboratory conditions. The mechanism that makes it addictive also helps protect against Parkinson’s disease.

          • Bazman
            Posted July 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            If you look at scientific and not so scientific studies you would find that alcohol increases driving skills in some people at some levels. We should abolish drink drive laws on that basis?
            The economic reason are also just similar claptrap from non smokers.

        • Gregster
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          And someone else would be in a job and off the dole. It’s easy to find big costs when you only look at one side of n equation.

    • wab
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      “After all it is the taxpayer who picks up the bills via the NHS later on when all the health issues kick in.”

      Almost everyone dies of some health issue which means the taxpayer picks up the bill via the NHS. If you die earlier because you smoke then those bills become due earlier. On the other hand there is less (or no) pension to pay. I think the latter swamps the other effect. Cancer is not cheap to treat, but neither is Alzheimer’s.

      And if you want to ban smoking because it is bad for the taxpayer then you should also ban anything where someone might get injured and so require the NHS to pick up the pieces. Ban sports for one thing. The NHS is swamped with football injuries at the weekend. Ban hiking, in case you get injured. Ban cycling. Etc.

      The real reason people want to ban smoking is the same reason they want to ban alcohol and fizzy drinks and that is because people (or at least the ones that run the country) are puritanical control freaks. Sports are “good” so that is ok. Smoking is “evil” so that is not. It should not be up to the State to force people to be healthy.

      Britain is not a nation of shopkeepers. Britain is a nation of puritanical control freaks.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


        I actually think its not puritanical but government greed.

        If you demonise something like oil/gas/petrol/fags you can then tax it through the nose without fear of retribution. Its why they’ve now started on booze another cash cow for them.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        You seem to have ignored that smoking has a passive effect, so it also harms non-smokers. By contrast none of the other things you mentioned have a passive effect.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


          You seen to have overlooked

          That what we are arguing for is smokers to be allowed to smoke in designated places only. So the only passive “effect” is one of choice.

          My point is the so called passive effects are what the government/lobby groups play on

          I take it you don’t agree with the socialists that carbon based fossil fuels have the passive effect of warming the planet, melting the ice and killing all the polar bears?

          I take it that you don’t agree with the socialists/green that fracking for shale gas causes earthquakes.

          The socialists already killed the nuclear industry with their made up passive effects

        • RB
          Posted July 22, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          Maybe you’ve fallen for the propaganda.

          There are still many of us around who remember growing up in houses filled with tobacco smoke. We’re all fine thanks.

          Its the air pollution (particularly diesel particulates) that we should be concerned about.

  15. Edward2
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Interesting you use cigarettes and tobacco as an example.
    The purpose of taxing them was originally to bring in much needed extra revenue, but in recent years the rates have been deliberately set at such a penal rate so as to discourage use despite these products being highly addictive.
    Strangely with other taxes the concept of higher rates reducing activity or use is not accepted by many, who claim higher rates always bring in greater revenue.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Increases in tobacco prices correlate in the reduction of smoking and deaths. There should be a penal rate but there will always the offset of increased smuggling and reduced revenue due to high prices.

  16. Tony Harrison
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    “..government has a conflict of interest in this topic”
    Right, though this is a highly euphemistic way of referring to what might more bluntly be called rank hypocrisy. Politicians inveigh against the evils of tobacco – while raking in very substantial sums from taxing it. Since politicians are always reluctant to spend less of our money, if everyone stopped smoking tomorrow there would be squeals from HM Treasury and Downing Street that the country was in imminent danger of bankruptcy. There is no way they want everyone to stop smoking – they are too addicted to the cash it brings in, and too fond of an easy target for high-minded, if facile, posturing about health issues.
    Official attitudes to smoking are a useful index & illustration of the Nanny State in action. In addition to hypocrisy we observe kneejerk authoritarianism, kowtowing to the PC gods and to pressure groups, (words left out) runaway bureaucracy, propaganda (etc) and general intolerance of dissent.
    Having been a victim of most of these nasty factors in relation to sordid, dishonest business of banning lawful handgun ownership in 1997, I am more sensitive than ever to the squalid impulses of politicians. I haven’t smoked since 1980: I don’t like it, don’t like the smell, and it’s hugely unhealthy. But if people wish to smoke, and property owners are willing to let them smoke on their premises, in a free society they should be perfectly at liberty to do so.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      if everyone stopped smoking tomorrow there would be squeals from HM Treasury and Downing Street that the country was in imminent danger of bankruptcy.

      The UK is borrowing £120 billion more than it gets in tax revenues. So the loss of tax revenue resulting from people no longer smoking will have little to no effect on whether the UK is likely to go bankrupt.

      There is no way they want everyone to stop smoking – they are too addicted to the cash it brings in, and too fond of an easy target for high-minded, if facile, posturing about health issues.

      The why is the Government spending millions of pounds to encourage people to give up smoking?

      • libertarian
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        The Treasury make over £12 billion per year from tobacco duty and taxes

        If the government are trying to stop smoking why do we subsidise tobacco growers with £millions each year?

  17. Martin
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The nanny state could stop trying to snoop on my my private correspondence.

    Being forced to waste time for meaningless security checks is another pet hate.

    Packaging of whatever is way down my list of civil liberties. An Australian might have other ideas. I do however think that Australians should be free to criticise the police even if some think otherwise. Indeed it shows where we are heading that even foreign newspaper owners can’t have a grumble about the police.

    Walter Ulbricht would find much to admire in present day Britain. State run banks. He might have thought that state control of packaging is the symbolic display of total state control. We have state workers being better paid than private sector reactionaries. Only the collectivisation of farms to go comrade!

  18. David Johnson
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, I have conducted a small survey as a taxi driver.. I asked my young passengers all around 15 to 20 years old if they smoked..i found that most males don’t smoke & the ones that do use rolling tobacco & most females do smoke & if they can afford it they buy packet cigarettes usually the same brand as their mother or father & if they don’t have enough money they buy rolling tobacco. youngsters under the age of 15 that I carry in my taxi that smoke don’t care what brand they have as long as its a fag.. hope this helps. David

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I suspect people use rolling tobacco because:

      A) You can make a bunch of thin cigarettes in order to make the tobacco last longer.

      B) It’s harder to distinguish imported rolling tobacco from UK rolling tobacco. Especially if you keep it in a refillable container.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Rolling tobacco is much cheaper than tailor made in the EU. It is also easier to smuggle.

  19. Mark
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The lifetime costs of smokers in health care terms have been shown to be much lower than for non-smokers, who in living longer tend to die of more expensive to treat illnesses. Tobacco taxes pay for smoking related health care costs several times over. Add in the effect of reduced longevity on pension payments, and it is clear that government has no fiscal incentive to prevent smoking.

    Tobacco taxation has been set at levels that far exceed our EU neighbours, with the consequence that revenue is lost to purchases made elsewhere in the EU, and indeed to tobacco smuggled in from elsewhere. Higher rates have led to less than pro-rata increases in revenue, and drive the import business. It seems likely that there are incentives to under-estimate the extent of revenue loss. It does not seem credible to suppose that a sharply rising differential with Continental prices is associated with a fall in cross-border legal purchases, for instance – especially given that smoking is more prevalent among the poor than the well off (so the tax is deeply regressive). Meanwhile it seems that higher taxes have encouraged criminal enterprise that parallels the distribution of proscribed drugs.

    Perhaps we need to re-think the entire approach to try to get criminals out of the picture (especially as their products can be dangerously adulterated). Some joined up thinking about real economics and about other drugs both legal and illegal might also be in order. It’s too easy to moralise, and much harder to identify and pursue what works.

  20. Atlas
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    As a non smoker myself I also agree with those who find tobacco smoke unpleasant. However, I do not see why the Government should poke its nose into what goes on private property. I don’t have to go into a pub or a restaurant, whereas I might have no choice but to go to my local town hall or some other central government building.

    All the nudging by this Government, and its predecesso,r seems to be part of a world wide campaign against the tobacco industry. Considering that the dangers of smoking are well known and publicised, I don’t see why people cannot make their own decisions and live with the consequences – it all part of being an adult!

    If you want a compromise then have separate rooms in pubs for smokers and non-smokers – a simple solution that the Nanniers hate.

  21. uanime5
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I’d recommend a ban on advertising/promotions such as packet designs. This is unlikely to harm the profits of tobacco companies as any loss from reduced sales (assuming people stop smoking because the packets are less interesting) will more than be made up for by the saving they will make from not having to constantly refine the design of their packets to compete against other companies. A similar effect occurred when tobacco companies could no longer advertise on TV, where they saved large amounts of money by not needing to buy TV adverts.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      @U5: “A similar effect occurred when tobacco companies could no longer advertise on TV, where they saved large amounts of money by not needing to buy TV adverts

      Nonsense, all that happened was that they moved from TV advertising to an increase in magazine adverts and the sponsorship of (mostly) sporting events, which whilst giving them less general exposure often allowed them to target a specific demographic – never mind that they probably spent far more on this sort of directed sponsorship but of course their returns were even greater – they even got to still ‘advertise’ on TV, even on the BBC…!

    • Dick Puddlecote
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      “This is unlikely to harm the profits of tobacco companies”

      I don’t think you understand very much about brands.

      All companies invest in brands and packaging to distinguish themselves from competitors. In doing so, a trusted brand will be able to charge higher prices under the economic principle of preparedness to pay. Why do you think perfume companies spend such vast amounts of money on bottles and packaging?

      Chanel doesn’t want to look the same as Asda own. Indeed, in 1992 the competition commission (or monolopies commission as it was then known) defended premium pricing as a competitive tool.

      Tobacco, incredibly, is just the same as any other business. There is more profit in prestige brands than budget ones. Legislating to make all cig packets the same design would, most definitely, harm profits of tobacco companies, that’s why they are savagely opposed to plain packaging.

      Bizarrely, tobacco control wants these high price products reduced to only being allowed to compete on price. Kids don’t buy £8 packs of fags, they buy whatever is the cheapest, which would be all of them if plain packaging were to be stupidly adopted.

      Likewise, the EU has just passed a directive which bans any rolling tobacco of less than 40g per pack. If you buy 40g, you’re going to smoke the lot, whereas at the moment you can buy 12.5g or 25g.

      In their misguided hatred of tobacco companies, anti-smokers are actively encouraging smoking for those under and over 18. Saying no to plain packaging was a very wise idea, entirely unusual from the idiots that tend to sit in the HoC these days.

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        The point I was making was that if all companies have to use the same packaging then companies won’t have to spend money constantly trying to make their packaging more appealing than their competitors’ packaging.

        Also it’s still possible to produce a luxury brand, even if your cigarettes aren’t sold in a fancy box (as happens in Australia). So don’t expect many companies to drop their prices when plain packets are introduced.

        • Gregster
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

          If someone makes a luxury brand in the same box as everything else, why would anyone want to buy it at a premium price? Your floundering.

  22. Acorn
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I find it amazing how far “the government” has strayed away from its original remit of supplying common goods and services to the private sector households and businesses. As the UK has never had a proper Constitution we have ended up with an elected dictatorship and the law is whatever the government of the day says it is; or will be tomorrow if it ain’t today.

    It is easier to trace how the US ended up with an out of control federal government by witnessing how their constitution has, bit by bit, failed due to voter ignorance and apathy. When the US “federal” government started, the “executive” branch consisted of a President and a Vice President. They appointed three department heads, a Secretay of State; a Secretary of War and a Secretary of Treasury. They also added an Attorney General. That was it; three departments and about two thousand federal bureaucrats by 1801. It’s about fifteen now and three million federal bureaucrats. And, like the UK, (BTW: a unitary state, not a federal state; its constituent countries — England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland — have no power to challenge the constitutionality of acts of Parliament), they get to talk about matters that are more relevant to district and parish councils.

    In the old days, Federalists would have fought for complete self-government and full provincial autonomy, as opposed to the federalism that is the centralized government they have ended up with. The Unitarians and Centralists have won in the US and UK. It is all being painfully repeated now in the EU. Including when the US federal Treasury started and discovered it didn’t have any money of its own. The EU hasn’t even got a Treasury yet.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      In 1801 the USA had about 20 states and a fraction of the population. So it’s no surprise that they needed fewer bureaucrats.

      Also in the past federalism wasn’t about self-government or full provincial autonomy, it was been about creating a strong central government (which is why during the American Civil War the Union soldiers were called Federalists). Sadly too many people confuse a confederacy with a federation.

  23. libertarian
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m a non smoker & non drinker too.

    This issues highlights the total hypocrisy of politicians and the nanny state.

    1) Smoking & alcohol ( responsible for more than 7 million deaths per year are legal & taxed

    2) Drugs ( dope, crack, coke, heroin etc) are responsible for less than 100,000 deaths per year and are illegal. ( those deaths are mostly caused by prohibition and dodgy cutting of drugs).

    As a libertarian I believe that if people wish to smoke, drink & take drugs that’s their lookout.

    As long as the rest of us aren’t inconvenienced or affected.

    As to plain packaging ANY politician that thinks this will work is so detached from the rest of the human race as to be from another planet.

    Why on earth would a plain pack discourage someone? Already cool designer fag boxes are available where plain packaging is in place. Also ( as with illegal drugs) (overseas ed) produces and floods the market with billions of counterfeit fags a year, often with substandard, illegal and other toxic substances mixed in, plain packaging is the biggest benefit to counterfeiters .

    A nanny state even if desirable would only work if nanny had the remotest clue what it was talking about…. it doesn’t, its just kneejerk reaction to various lobbies and pressure groups.

    We were absolutely assured that banning smoking in pubs would improve pub attendance. It didn’t it killed the pub trade stone dead. Well done nanny

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      ‘We were absolutely assured that banning smoking in pubs would improve pub attendance. It didn’t it killed the pub trade stone dead.’

      Really? I still see pubs full to bursting when I venture into town on a Friday or Saturday evening. Pubs that do food like the pub that used to be called the ‘Tally Ho’ in Eversley seem to be heaving all the time.

      I would have thought that, perhaps, more, as it were ‘working class’ pubs – that have suffered from less trade might want to think about charging less than getting on for £4 for a pint of beer.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Mike Wilson

        Really?where have you been for the last couple of years? You obviously missed the news. 936 pubs closed in 2012 At the moment pub closures in England are running at 26 per week.

        Here’s a list of one quarters closures by county http://www.camra.org.uk/countypubclosures

        How would they charge that much less when most of the cost is duty & taxes.

        Blimey Mike I assume you’ve been living abroad if you were unaware of all the issues facing the pub trade, non smoking, plus supermarket price cutting and rural pubs hit by drink driving.

  24. oldtimer
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Like you I am a non-smoker and always have been; my parents were lifelong smokers. I think that the campaign against smokers has now gone too far. It is but one example, among several, where busybodies seek to impose their own views on the rest of us and use their lobbying skills to enlist the power of the state to do so. They are also very effective in intimidating MPs because they claim they are doing good and to oppose them is to support evil habits.

  25. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I am a non smoker appart from a cognac and a good cigar after a good meal. about once a year.

    I think smokers are pesicuited and should be left alone to follow their own life style. Governments post Blair are now interfearing in peoples lives all the time and it should be reversed.mind you I do not think wearing crash helmets and seat belts should be law either.
    minimum laws maximum freedom.

  26. lojolondon
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Stupid idea. Time will prove that this plays right into the hands of tax evaders and counterfeiters. And it will achieve nothing. Not one person will stop smoking , just as there was no reduction in smoking when advertising stopped, in fact it was a massive boon for the manufacturers, because reduced switching between brands and cut a major expense off the bottom line….

  27. Ken McLean
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    There should have been a choice of smoking or non-smoking places to visit,clearly signed.This was in the original proposal in the shape of”if you sell food,you must be smoke-free”
    Days before the law(original one)I was in a well known pub chain,s establishment and they had builders ready and waiting to rip the kitchens out.
    I,like thousands of Smokers,had no interest in politics before the Ban,but now read articles on the “Studies suggest….”rubbish and know them now to be the createtions of Lobbyists masquerading as Charities or part of NHS Trusts.my taxes are being used against my lifestyle.
    You want to save money…get rid of these,stop harrassing users of Legal,Highly Taxed products and bring in choice.

  28. Miramar
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a brief history of the antismoking madness (Godber Blueprint) over the last few decades.

    The first demand for a smoking ban was in the late-1980s concerning short-haul flights in the USA of less than 2 hours. At the time, the antismokers were asked if this was a “slippery slope” – where would it end? They ridiculed anyone suggesting such because this ban was ALL that they were after.
    Then they ONLY wanted smoking bans on all flights.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted nonsmoking sections in restaurants, bars, etc., and ensuring that this was ALL they wanted.
    Then the antismokers ONLY wanted complete bans indoors. That was all they wanted. At the time, no-one was complaining about having to “endure” wisps of smoke outdoors.

    While they pursued indoor bans, the antismokers were happy for smokers to be exiled to the outdoors. Having bulldozed their way into indoor bans, the antismokers then went to work on the outdoors, now declaring that momentary exposure to remnants of smoke in doorways or a whiff outdoors was a “hazard”, more than poor, innocent nonsmokers should have to “endure”.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 10 feet of entrance ways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans within 20 feet of entrance ways.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans in entire outdoor dining areas.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire university and hospital campuses and parks and beaches.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for apartment balconies.
    Then they ONLY wanted bans for entire apartment (including individual apartments) complexes.

    On top of all of this, there are now instances, particularly in the USA, where smokers are denied employment, denied housing (even the elderly), and denied medical treatment. Smokers in the UK are denied fostering/adoption. Involuntary mental patients are restrained physically or chemically (sedation) or multi-day solitary confinement rather than allow them to have a cigarette – even outside.

    At each point there was a crazed insistence that there was no more to come while they were actually planning the next ban and the brainwashing required to push it. The incessant claim was that they were not doing “social engineering” (prohibition) when the current antismoking crusade has been so from the outset, just like pretty well every previous antismoking crusade. Etc ed

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      You forgot that anti-smokers had medical evidence showing that passive smoking caused cancer in non-smokers. Thus companies supported banning smoking to protect their employees and customers from passive smoking.

      You’ve ignored why smoking in or near a hospital would be bad for patients, especially if they’re recovering from a serious injury or are having trouble breathing.

      You’ve ignored that tenants who smoked made their apartments and nearby apartments less desirable, which mean landlords made less money after giving rooms to smokers. Which is probably why landlords don’t want people to smoke in their apartment complexes.

      You’ve ignored that smoking near children is bad for children, which is why smokers can’t foster or adopt.

      You’ve ignored just how dangerous it would be to let mental patients go outside every time they need a cigarette. You also can’t justify sending several orderlies and a doctor outside to monitor a patient every time this patient needs a cigarette.

      • Gregster
        Posted July 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        “You forgot that anti-smokers had medical evidence showing that passive smoking caused cancer in non-smokers.”

        No they didn’t. The Godber blueprint was a guide on how they were going to create false evidence to fit with their desire for bans, and that’s exactly what they did.

      • david copeland
        Posted July 24, 2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        Just WHERE is all this ‘scientific’ evidence? Ans…it doesn’t exist. Second hand smoke ‘dangers’ were invented by the anti-smoking movement to force through iniquitous bans and legislation.
        The Relative Risk of second hand smoke is 1.17, , which means an increase in risk of 17%. To put this into some sort of perspective, you’ve more chance of getting cancer from drinking water, with a RR of 1.25, whole milk 2.14, bacon 3.00, and even keeping pet birds 6.00!
        Would any sane person believe that a persons health can be seriously harmed by a glass of water? Of course not.

        Robert E Madden,
        Practicing chest surgeon, teacher and a former cancer researcher. Past president of the NY Cancer Society. USA

        “To me the most offensive element of the smoking bans is the resort to science as “proving that environmental smoke, second hand smoke, causes lung cancer”. Not only is this unproven but there is abundant and substantial evidence to the contrary. Etc

        • margaret brandreth-j
          Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          But there again you would have many eminent chest physicians disagree with
          you and you understand that research isn’t always as accurate as it chould be and often relies on probability.
          You are reacting in the shoes of someone who is promoting science as you know
          it, whereas as we have empirical evidence and look at the whole picture.
          Your statement underlies the point that even though we can see breathlessness, blue faced, blue bloaters and red faced puffers repiratory failures and cancers in front of us , the accuracy of science and prestige is more important than the people it is treating.
          I also used to keep people alive with a ward full of Respiratory failures , where long term smokers , actually were kept alive by quarter hourly physio as their C02
          reflex had disappeared at ages of 50 and 60.

  29. alan jutson
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    We do not want or need a Nanny who is not a family member.

    The Government provides a system of education, we as living mortals develop a degree of commonsense and a survival instinct.
    Most of us are bought up with parents who nurture and teach us in our most formative years.

    People will always do silly things, be it take part in a risky sport/adventure or drinking smoking or eating to excess, and indeed that is the way human nature works, because we are all different.

    The Government has to simply accept that we are all different, make some simple rules, but then leave us to get on with it.
    For far too long we have government meddeling in our lives, telling us what is best for us, when we should be responsible for our own health and wellbeing.

    Seems to me if Government is taxing smoking and drinking, then it is happy for such behaviour to continue through those products being sold..

  30. Bert Young
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Smoking should be banned . Enough evidence has been produced to show how injurious it is to health ; it killed my father . I would not allow smoking in any of my offices and I did not hire anyone who did smoke . Society has to be tough on some issues ; it should not be ambiguous about smoking .

    • libertarian
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink


      Being a common sense kind of person following your logic you will also be wanting a ban on alcohol too then?

    • db
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      I try to only employ smokers. On average nicer folk, take less sickies and are good workers.

  31. S donald
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    As a conservative minister John, I,m surprised you are even asking the question. Tobacco control has developed from being an group concerned with the health of smokers into a full blown hate driven over zealous organisation hell bent on bringing this country down.
    The best place for nanny is in the bin at the bottom of Nu- Labour’s garden.

  32. Big John
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    This is the problem when the state keeps funding these fake charities.

    They have to keep coming up with stupid ideas, to justify their existence.

    The same applies with the green/co2 scam.

    Can you just tell the govenment to stop funding them with my money.

  33. waramess
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    The Labour government got this one right. It is not a question of interfering in smokers rights it is a question of whether smokers should be allowed to interfere with the rights of non-smokers.

    Tobacco companies employ the best psychologists to frame their marketing and the objective is to capture children and the vulnerable young. The tobacco companies thamselves say that if their marketing has not been effective before the age of 25 then a potential customer has been lost.

    Are we really talking about smokers rights which the government should protect or are we talking about something altogether more sinister?

  34. harleyrider1978
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I would ask what proven dangers of smoking as there is no Toxicological evidence anywhere to be found!

    In America the federal govmnt forces Tobacco companies to corrected statements made by the government about smoking yet again, WHERES THE PROOF!

    7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
    November 2004.

    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

    In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

    The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      I once read Sir Richard Doll’s original “science paper” that “established ” the link between smoking and lung cancer. It was nonsense, there was no evidence. The paper referenced other papers for proof and when you read those papers they reference Doll it was a less scientific study than the non scientic co2 scam

      • uanime5
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Sir Richard Doll’s scientific paper showed that the reason why so many people were dying of lung cancer was because smoking causes lung cancer. Care to explain why so many people were dying of lung cancer if smoking wasn’t the cause.

        Would you also care to explain how the other papers referenced by Doll were able to reference Doll’s paper when it Doll’s paper was published several years later?

        Would you also explain libertarian why just because you don’t like Doll’s paper does this make every other scientific study on the effects of smoking wrong?

        Face it libertarian Doll was right and you’re condemning him because he’s criticising something you like.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      harleyrider1978 the quote that you posted says that smoking causes cancer but that the committee doesn’t know how it causes cancer, therefore it will be difficult to test how it causes cancer. Just because you didn’t understand it doesn’t mean that there’s no evidence that smoking causes cancer.

  35. bigneil
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    this has reminded me of at work many years ago when firms first stated to make workplaces non smoking – our manager – a smoker – argued that the smokers on the shop floor should be allowed 5 minutes an hour – which would stretch to ten – for the smokers to indulge – -as the machines are nonstop – this meant someone else was doing their work while smoking- -on 12 hour shifts that meant 2 hours allowed for smoking – -plus official breaks – -a nice short workload. – – another manager non smoker -suggested the same breaks for non smokers and was laughed at – -until the discrimination was pointed out – and that the non smokers were effectively doing way over 12 hours – and not getting paid – -while the smokers were effectively doing 9 hrs – and getting paid a full shift.

  36. Adam Collyer
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Two comments: first, the government is not the “health custodian”. Second, maybe there are more important things to be discussing right now? Like the continuing headlong rush towards State bankruptcy? Or the onward march of global governance and the threat to national sovereignty?

    I know that you, John, certainly talk about these things. Unfortunately your leader’s main priority seems to be to distract us frim the real issues with trivua like this.

  37. Chas
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see what else can be done to stop people taking up smoking without banning it completely.
    As for plain packaging how can it stop children taking up smoking when it is against the law for shops to sell tobacco products to anybody under 18, and they are hidden behind shutters so nobody can see what they look like? Children get their first cigarettes from friends and family and can easily buy counterfeit and smuggled tobacco products.

  38. David Hope
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I’d keep things as they are. It has already gone too far – for example many stations and open air areas have banned it even though there is no problem of a smoky room filling up.

    I have never smoked but it is not government’s job to protect people from themselves. I’d rather money was spent on police and nurses and the sorts of things we want to pay our taxes for. Not to keep people in jobs who spend their days finding things to ban

  39. Paul
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago I would have said that the government should step in on issues such as this. The government should ban advertising cigarettes, make cigarette packaging plain white and ban smoking in pubs/restaurants because so much of the public is stupid and sensible members of the public need protecting from their stupidity. However, when you study politics more you soon realise that our elected politicians are even more stupid, incompetent and useless. I now believe that government should get out of the way, leave people to make their own choices and educate their own children on the dangers of smoking, leave cigarette packaging the way it is and reverse the smoking ban in pubs. The less government we have in our lives the better.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      This would not make my trip to the pub better and as I am in the majority of non addicts the smoking ban stands.

  40. Chris S
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I am a lifelong opponent of smoking and have never allowed smoking in my home or car.

    I was annoyed that the ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants took so long to introduce because non-smokers should never have been subjected to the smoke and smell when they want a meal or a drink.

    But that is as far as the Nanny State should go.

    The tax on cigarettes and alcohol is as high as it can reasonably be : any higher and everyone will switch to buying in France.

    The idea of minimum pricing on alcohol is stupid : Other European countries have far cheaper booze than we do and don’t have binge drinking. Its education that is needed not a price penalty on everyone who drinks a modest amount.

  41. Junican
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I have noticed that lots of commenters here are non-smokers. It is very reasonable therefore to expect that they know little about the science which underpins the smoking ban. But, before moving to that, we should observe that, although it might be a good thing for the Government to advise people not to smoke, it has no right to persecute them for doing so. Sin taxes and bans are punitive and should be regarded by all sensible people as highly suspicious.
    As regards second hand smoke, it has been found in many studies that SHS is so diluted that it is harmless to any averagely healthy person (even to children). True, there will be some people who are allergic or have bad reactions of one sort or another, but that is because of their personal, physical problem. It has been calculated (sorry, do not have the reference but it exists) that a person working in a ‘smoker bar’ would inhale the equivalent of six cigarettes per year. (Do not forget that the open air is not ‘clean’ – it is full of toxins of one sort or another, but at a very and harmless concentration). It follows therefore that smoking bans based upon SHS were voted through parliament on a scientific basis which was a near fraudulent as it is possible to get without actually being deliberate lies.

    All the stuff about plain packaging is just noise when compared with the heinousness of the smoking ban, which has been the template for lots of other attempts to coerce life-style change.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      There is some sort of safe level of cigarette smoke and we must put up with the smell from addict who have in reality no choice or freedom from their addiction? The fact that traffic pollution exists make smoking less harmful? It’s like saying to welders who smoke why do you need protection from welding fumes. What next the reintroduction of lead and asbestos in ‘safe levels’. You believe there are safe levels of these? You are wrong? Ram it.

    • Chris S
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Second hand smoke may be harmless ( but I doubt it )

      BUT, Junican, you have no right to inflict it on anyone but yourself.

      Smokers emit unpleasant breath and their clothes often stink of ash. Anyone who walked through the smoker’s carriage on a train can remember what an unpleasant experience that was !

      Irrespective of harm, the majority of non-smokers have a right to enjoy a peaceful meal or drink in a clean and pleasant atmosphere.

      The smoking ban took far too long to implement.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Chris S

        Thats fine as long as you ban alcohol on the same basis. As both a non smoker and non drinker I’m also fed up with drunks who vomit on public transport breathe their drink fumes on me and fall about, crash into and otherwise get leery . Where do you stop?

  42. Tony
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    The evidence of serious harm even from ‘active’ smoking is actually rather tenuous. There have been thousands of published papers, of which I’ve read a substantial proportion, that claim harm. Typically 5-10 years reduced life expectancy. All these papers rely on correlations derived from observational studies. Empirical scientific studies do not support them. For example, toxicological and intervention studies.

    If there really was strong evidence then tobacco companies would have been sued out of existence decades ago, as happened with asbestos companies. Look up the McTear vs ITL court case for instance, where the top tobacco control ‘experts’ had to produce evidence in court and singularly failed.

    The same ‘observational’ technique was used to try to establish second hand smoke as a danger but the vast majority of studies failed to even find correlation. Tobacco control then cherry picked a few and averaged out the results, coming up with a e.g. 25% increase in lung cancer risk after 40 years of living with a smoker. 25% may sound high but in absolute terms it means an increase of 0.1% over a lifetime.

    None the less some people would wish to avoid such minuscule risks and others dislike tobacco smoke. There is a very simple solution to this: simply allow private businesses to make their own policy and post clear sign-age on the door.

    (Para left out ed)
    In conclusion: the existing ant-smoking legislation has already gone way too far and is a disgrace in what used to be a civilised tolerant society.

    I do not have any links to tobacco or pharmaceutical companies, nor any to fake charities.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Empirical studies, such as having dogs smoke to see if they develop lung cancer, have proven that smoking is dangerous. Odd how you missed this after supposedly reading thousands of research papers.

      In the McTear vs ITL case Mrs McTear couldn’t sue ITL after smoking killed Mr McTear because it was shown that Mr McTear would have continued smoking even if he knew that it would kill him. ITL never challenged the evidence that smoking causes cancer, so it’s clear that the experts did prove that smoking causes cancer.

      Asbestos companies went out of business because no one wanted to buy asbestos. As people continued to buy cigarettes, even after it was proved that they cause cancer, tobacco companies were able to continue existing.

      The fact that you don’t like that passive smoking exists doesn’t mean the data was cherry picked. All recent studied have proved that passive smoking does occur, something that you would know if you’d actually read “thousands of published papers”.

      The problem with allowing private businesses to make their own choices is that it will result in their staff being constantly exposed to passive smoke. Thus it’s not viable.

      In conclusion your attempts to misrepresent the evidence does not mean that the laws are too harsh, especially when you consider just how harmful smoking is.

      • Tony
        Posted July 23, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink


        I suggest you read the judgement on the McTear vs ITL court case rather than just guessing.

        ITL and their expert witnesses most certainly did dispute that lung cancer could be caused by smoking. And they were very persuasive. Two paragraphs from the court case are important here.

        [1.8] I wish to state clearly now, and shall reflect this throughout my Opinion, that:
        (1) This is in no sense a public inquiry into issues relating to smoking and health; it is a proof before answer in which I have to consider, having regard to the facts and the law, whether ITL should be found liable in damages to Mrs McTear.
        (2) I must base my decision about questions of fact on the evidence, and that alone.

        An then the conclusion reached by the the judge:

        [6.171] I conclude this passage by emphasising that I am in no way finding that cigarette smoking cannot or does not cause lung cancer: I am simply saying that, approaching the evidence with an open mind, as I am bound to do, and applying the law relating to expert evidence, I am unable to find it proved that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer.

        In regard to animal testing this was what the judge said:

        He [counsel for McTear] also accepted in effect, at para.[6.56], that the averment for ITL at p.16 of the Closed Record was proved, “that over several decades, an enormous research effort has been made to produce in the laboratory the kind of lung cancer reported to be statistically associated with smoking. However, researchers have been unable to produce such cancer in test animals exposed to fresh whole smoke.”

        The whole judgment runs to around 800 pages and includes evidence from both parties.

        Reply I suggest those interested read the complex judgement as it is not possible to summarise it easily and fairlt

        • Bazman
          Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          Smoking is detrimental to health by observation. Like the weather. This judgement by Judge Mental a.k.a. Bazman can also be studied all day with the same weight.

      • Tony
        Posted July 23, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Further to my above post suggesting you actually read the McTear vs ITL judgment, I also want to make it clear than the asbestos companies were indeed sued out of existence and also that my earlier statement about passive smoking stands.

  43. Junican
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Further, I wonder how many people reading Mr Redwood’s post are aware what has happened regarding the EU Tobacco Directive?
    Briefly, Anna Soubry went off the Brussels (or wherever) and negotiated certain variations in the directive and then committed the UK to the directive. However, since these directives originate from A TREATY, they have to be scrutinised by a commons committee on behalf of parliament. Ms Soubry ignored that requirement went ahead, thus denying the supremacy of parliament and the people. She said that there was a terrible urgency because, without UK support for the directive, it might not get through during the Irish presidency and might just disappear. The committee were very angry about being ignored, and what made it worse was that the committee had been asking for information for six months and had been ignored. Ms Soubry claimed that it was imperative to get amendments to clause 24, which, she said, could stop the UK Government introducing plain packaging and further anti-tobacco measures if it was not amended.
    But wait ……. What right did Ms Soubry have to decide that it was urgent that the directive passed during the Irish presidency without the matter being examined by the committee responsible for examining it on behalf of the people? It should be noted that she claimed not to have consulted any other ministers before making the decision. Whom did she consult, and were they representatives of the people?
    Ms Soury apologised profusely and Andrew Black said that lessons would be learned. Is that good enough? I cannot see how it can be. The UK should withdraw its support and demand that the process should be started all over again until THE PEOPLE have had their say.
    Here is the URL for the video of the committee meeting whereat the members of the committee questioned Ms Soubry:


  44. Vanessa
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    It all rather depends on whether the government needs the revenue. If it does, then leave well alone; if it doesn’t then ban everything that moves.

    It is rather like complaining about the tax big corporates pay like Google, Microsoft, etc. You make the laws so either stop complaining because they are doing nothing illegal, much as those buying ISAs etc. or change the laws – they are in your control (I think).

    It has been proved that “passive smoking” is not dangerous to anyone just unpleasant for those who do not smoke. We are all so quick to condemn.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Really? Maybe Hand-arm vibration (HAV) is just a scam made up by ambulance chasing lawyers? The causes are not fully understood though obviously vibration and length of exposure is the main cause. The people who say they are effected by this are all liars and compensation seekers to I presume? I hve been using the equipment that causes this yesterday and can feel some effect, but it must just be in my mind huh? Breathing in smoke or fume is not dangerous and has been proven not to be? What planet are you on?

  45. mandyv
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    The damage that must have been done to the elderly, like forcing them outside nursing homes for a ciggie when it is freezing, is unforgivable, where are the elderly pipe smokers now? being excluded from society and not able to enjoy a pint with their mates is unforgivable. They are the generation that may have never have learned how to use a computer, they have no voice. I have rarely been out to the pub since the ban as many others I am sure, so I rarely buy any new clothes or shoes ect.
    Children could tell me where to buy drugs I’m sure, they do not come in pretty packets do they. The new temperance movement will then start on what pictures to put on wine ect, we all know they never stop and never will.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      So non smokers have to breath in (muck ed)to allow for this?

    • Norman Brand
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      I so agree with you Mandyv. The effect of the blanket ban on elderly people who may enjoy meeting over a cup of tea or a beer, or bingo and have a smoke is wicked. I rage in my heart whenever I see an old lady pushed out in her wheelchair into the grounds of a hospital to smoke a cigarette, if she is lucky enough to have some one to do it. And the open air ‘bans’ in hospital grounds are an offence against charity – I use the word in the sense in which St Paul used it.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Does she not have choice not to smoke as you all say and no have to be pushed outside?

  46. rick hamilton
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Smoking should be banned in public buildings where the occupants have no choice, but private businesses such as pubs should be able to decide for themselves if they allow it or not.

    Government should warn people about the dangers of smoking, alcohol, drugs, obesity, careless driving, etc. Most of us are adults and usually have more common sense than political parties who are mostly sucking up to vested interests and pressure groups and angling for re-election.

    I want smaller government, lower taxes and much, much less interference in peoples’ lives. For me that is what conservatism is (partly) about and nobody is offering it.

    With membership of the EU we are stuck with two gangs of bureaucrats (three if you live in Scotland etc) paying themselves excessive salaries while living off an embattled band of actual wealth creators in business and industry. Hardly conducive to a thriving economy and probably the real reason why there is no growth.

  47. Greg Burrows
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Second hand smoke is not significantily harmful, even above water. HSE OC 255/15 article 9
    gives some clarification to this.9 “The evidential link between individual circumstances of exposure to risk in exempted premises will be hard to establish. In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases and it is therefore difficult to prove health-related breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.”
    A public Health scam on social engineering, which has destroyed hundreds of thousands of people’s social lives, and destroyed a major part of the hospitality industry with thousands of pubs shutting, and landlords/landladies losing there homes and livilihoods, for what, as there is not one live saved, but a hell of a lot of lives lost, through these depressive deeds.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      They can smoke outside and you are putting smoking on non smokers believing that only smokers go to pubs. These are modern times and smoking is out of order whether you see it as nanny state or not. The idea that breathing in second hand smoke or any other sort of fume has no effect is a fantasy. The truth is self evident. Look at the faces and skin of smokers. Ram it.

      • Chas
        Posted July 21, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        I suppose you stay away from all vehicle fumes? Air pollution is a far bigger killer than cigarette smoke.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Being run over by a bus is scientifically proven to be much more dangerous than smoking. You are right.

  48. Bazman
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    This argument about passive smoking and the defence of smoking falls down of the basis that they seem to think that smoking is normal and non smokers should have to put up with smoking if the majority smoke. They do not. Smoking is not normal natural behaviour. They need to not inflict smoking on others not the other way around. They are tobacco addicts and should be treated as such.
    How would you feel if the fume come from an industrial processes such as welding? Are you seriously going to tell us that welding fume in the workplace does not cause health problems like you do cigarette smoke? In a room used by smokers every surface is covered in a yellow film. In welding a dust like mustard powder is there, both tiny dangerous particles. This would not also be in the lungs of non smokers if it was would cause no effect over time? Am I just be elf and safety when I use a fume mask during welding and grinding? The smell of a burning grinding disc is disgusting as it is dangerous.
    I notice that most defendants of smoking do not smoke and believe that smoking is a choice like a glass of lager or a pork pie. Nothing is further from the truth.

    • Chas
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Alcohol is classed as a more dangerous drug mainly due to the violence associated with it.

  49. Max Dunbar
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The atmosphere in our country has been more fouled by PC heavy handedness than cigarette smoke ever did. Anyone who travels to Europe can attest to that despite EU regs. One can smoke in pubs and some restaurants if one chooses to do so. Cigarettes are also much cheaper. Taste the freedom – its gone here. I am not a smoker.

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Let us first see the results of the Australian experiment.

  51. Junican
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I think that Bazman makes an excellent argument for smoking, non-smoking and mixed (some with a ‘smoking room’ and some with a ‘non-smoking room’) pubs, restaurants, etc, as decided by the proprietor. Clearly, there are people who are terrified of even the slightest impurity in the atmosphere, (conveniently forgetting that the atmosphere is filthy, but in minute, harmless proportions). However, there are also people who are genuinely allergic to certain things in the atmosphere, such as people who suffer from hay fever. Many of the people dare not leave home in high pollen periods. Do they therefore demand that the Government removes all plants and trees wherever they might possible go?
    To be safe, Bazman might consider wearing a mask wherever ho goes, even in the open air.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Junican you have failed to make any argument for the inclusion of smoking rooms in pubs and restaurants. Therefore it will be assumed that they have no benefit and don’t need to be added.

  52. Greg Burrows
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Although SHS may be unpleasant to some, as are many industrial processes, the work of the HSE is to work out the toxicity of these processes and rather than shut the factory down, they regulate a safe standard through ventilation of the toxic smoke, such as welding where the welding smoke is drawn away by an air fan above the article being welded, as there is no significant epidemiological evidence that SHS reaches harmful levels, what right did the government have in bringing in a smoking ban without such evidence, and also by bringing the ban in the Health act 2006 which required no proof of harm. The free market was there for property owners to choose what their clientele wanted before the smoking ban, there was just as much opportunity to have a non smoking pub as to have a smoking one, the smoking ban was like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut, ventilation should have been the answer to the smell problem, the government were out of order to enforce an apartied on 12 million smokers and their friends and family, without hard evidence, twice in Hansard prior to the ban the HSE were asked to express an opinion on the smoking ban, on both occasions they stated, as this law was not being brought in by them they could not comment.

    • uanime5
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      You’ve forgotten about the medical evidence showing that passive smoking was harmful, especially to the staff working in these buildings. The medical evidence also showed that ventilation didn’t work.

      • david copeland
        Posted July 24, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

        If you’re so sure that there is, how about posting some links to the scientific studies…which doesn’t mean links to CRUK, ASH etc anti-smoking propaganda websites. SHOW THE STUDIES AND SHOW THEIR RESULTS!

        • Bazman
          Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Breathing in fume from burning substances or industrial processes has not detrimental effects? Study that and get back to us. My shoes are wet and it’s not raining. You are stood next to me.

  53. Toby Ross
    Posted July 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m an occasional smoker (very occasionally at £8 a pack!). I really enjoy smoking cigarettes and find it rather civilised. I realise this puts me out of step with the zeitgeist but it won’t be the last time that happens. I’m not going to rail against the new dispensation as there is a real problem with non-smokers being subjected to something they find objectionable but I would like to offer a little plea against the outrageous discrimination suffered by smokers.
    Yes, smoking is bad for you but so are many other things. Why then is tobacco alone in having half of its packaging devoted to health warnings including pictures of diseased lungs, rotted teeth, etc? Smoking can make me impotent can it? Fair enough but why don’t (some food items ed)come with similarly lurid claims on their packaging? Why don’t cans of lager come complete with pictures of people lying in their own vomit?
    The latest indignity suffered by smokers is to have their vice hidden from view. It’s deliberately shaming and makes me feel a bit dirty. Enough already.

  54. outsider
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    Your post is about plain packaging and prohibition. But your colleague Mr Lansley has already banned the display of tobacco products in supermarkets, with small shops to follow. Under his regulations, shop assistants are not even allowed to tell you which brands they stock, if asked.
    This was the direct opposite of what he said he would do in Opposition, when he was seeking our votes. He said that, once he reached office, the “evidence” had convinced him. I am surprised that the lobbyists would not show him the evidence when he was in opposition or that he would propound a policy without looking at the evidence. Conservative MPs raised scarcely a murmur against the new policy, just as they had not objected to the old policy when in opposition. That is why I shall not be voting Conservative again.
    As it happens, the new policy has had a perverse effect. As a pipesmoker, I have noticed that most supermarkets have no longer sell more than a couple, if any pipe tobacco brands although dozens of cigarette brands are just as available as before. Yet pipe smoking poses a much lower risk to health than cigarettes because, like Bill Clinton, we do not inhale.

  55. Chris
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The problem, as always, with all talk of bans or government interference in our personal lives is the tyranny of the majority. We, like other countries, have now reached the point where government feels it necessary to impinge on ever larger numbers of people. What I call the ‘something must be done syndrome’. The fact is that a large minority of people smoke – 20% at least. You cannot simply stamp on such large numbers of people, as Mr Morsi in Egypt found out. He thought his slim majority entitled him to crush the wants and desire of a very large minority.

    Another point: in your last paragraph, John, you suggest making smoking illegal. Drugs like cocaine are illegal, but drug-taking has grown. The US has spent a trillion dollars on the ‘war on drugs’ and drug-taking has increased many fold and made criminals wealthy. Prohibition didn’t work, either. At the less serious end of criminal activity, it’s illegal to use a mobile in your car in the UK. Yet every day I see it happen. Just making something illegal doesn’t stop things happening especially if it affects a large number of people.

  56. REPay
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Packaging does not make people smoke – it does help cigarette brands to compete with each others. The decline in smoking will mean that smoking will decline in Australia – it will have nothing to do with packaging. I suppose taking a cigarette out of a blank cardboard package will underline smokers’ status as pariahs, if they don’t feel that way already.
    As usual the progressives are fighting yesterday’s battles and feeling smug. They don’t have the balls to ban it which is what they would really like. They know cigarettes would join other drugs as a black market.
    Personally, I’d like to see cannabis legalized and sold by the tobacco companies. Tax it and reduce crime.

    • Jerry
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      @REPay: “They don’t have the balls to ban it which is what they would really like. They know cigarettes would join other drugs as a black market.

      To late, the unduly heavy tax imposed on tobacco has already created a black market, the reasons both sides of the political divide will not ban smoking are a/. smokers come from all political opinion, not just their opponents and b/. government would loose a cash-cow.

  57. Junican
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    May I refer to uanime5’s comment above?

    Does that comment noty illustrate the enormity of the problem of trying to discuss the realities regarding second hand smoke in a rational manner? Comment after comment here has called into question the supposed dangers of SHS. Links have been posted and ‘authorities’ quoted. And yet it is still possible for a person to baldly and innocently say, without qualification: “the medical evidence showing that passive smoking was harmful, especially to the staff working in these buildings“; and, “The medical evidence also showed that ventilation didn’t work
    Oh dear, uanime. You are confusing ‘epidemiological’ evidence with ‘medical’ evidence. ‘Medical evidence’ would point to a bacterium or a virus as the cause of an illness, and would be able to produce the actual bacterium/virus, and show the effects. ‘Epidemiological evidence’ counts numbers and says that the cause of that same illness IS LIKELY TO BE ‘bad air’.
    But I understand uanime’s difficulties. The propaganda arm of tobacco control have seen to it that such confusion is widely disseminated to the detriment not only of the people, but also to the detriment of of REAL medical science.

  58. Mark
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I have nothing to add to the very many intelligent and informed comments here (I pass over the ignorant and intolerant ones without comment as well), but I cannot resist the opportunity to say to a British politician that I would absolutely love to visit the UK again–and happily spend some money–but I will NEVER do so until I can once again sit comfortably INSIDE an English pub and smoke my pipe. I live in San Francisco. California is where the whole contemporary, insane anti smoking “movement” began. My response to it here was to quit going to restaurants and cafes in 1995, when the ban went into effect, and then I abandoned bars in 1998, when smoking prohibition included them. I certainly am not going to travel across continents and oceans, with all the attendant expense and discomfort, only to face the same ruthless intolerance and freedom hating that I have to live with at home. I was shocked when smoking prohibition reached Britain. I thought you would have more sense.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page